Of Gods and Men - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Of Gods and Men Reviews

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November 23, 2016
Of Gods and Men is not for everyone. It is thought-provoking, revealing, and merciless in its portrayal of the struggles of 1990Ô▓s Algeria in the midst of its civil war. It follows the life of eight monks in a catholic monastery. There are a number of conflicts between the members and muslim-terrorists who want the doctor to heal his men from battle wounds. These conflicts become more aggressive as time goes on. They eventually decide to kidnap all the members, save two who cleverly hide themselves.

The making of the film largely emphasizes the type of life these men choose to lead. They have virtually n0 contact with the outside world, and do almost nothing every day except pray and sing. The way they live is eye-opening to say the least. They are completely isolated, except for the visits they receive from the Muslim terrorists. The main monk holds several meetings to decide if they should leave or stay and tolerate the continued treatment. Each one struggles with the choice, wondering if their mission where they currently are is worth becoming martyrs for. Some almost leave, but they all choose to stay by the end.

The film makes the viewer really experience the sheer loneliness and mindset of the monks. There is no background music and virtually no additional lighting. The dialogue is infrequent, mainly focusing on their quiet reflections. It feels very much like a documentary with the lack of conventional filmmaking techniques and infrequent use of dialogue, but the individual performances of each monk will make you care about each one, and make you feel all the more saddened at their untimely fate.
½ July 14, 2016
Profound true story of a dignified stand by a terrorised brotherhood of monks in impoverished Algeria. Fine performances all round.
½ July 13, 2016
Lots of atmosphere and thought provoking.
July 9, 2016
Beautifully filmed, exquisite pace, harrowing tale, elegantly acted, the after effects stay with me and still makes me sigh
Super Reviewer
½ October 24, 2015
A wonderful and heartbreaking film that moved me to tears with a story (based on real events) that is developed in a perfect slow pace, taking the necessary time to introduce us to each of the characters and their lives together, and make us truly care about them and their tense situation.
½ October 9, 2015
"Of Gods and Men" is a compelling film, based on actual events, about eight monks at a monastery in the mountains of Algeria in the 1990's. One day they find themselves caught in a civil war between Islamic fundaments and the army. They are forced to decide whether they will stay or if they will leave the village. One of my favourite moments in the film was when one of the monks began to doubt himself and how useful he is to the community. One of the villagers responded "we're the birds, and you are the branch". They find themselves constantly asking the question "should we leave" and Christian is the one who fights for them to refuse the help of the corrupt and violent army while staying and helping the people in the village. Too many movies tend to show these characters as someone with perfect morals when the reality of this situation if that anyone would doubt themselves. I believe that showing them doubting themselves only makes them more human. Xavier Beauvois did an excellent job at portraying this people and showing that they are only human. Throughout the movie they are constantly reminded that it would not be cowardly to leave and are always encouraged to leave. The decision splits them however they are reminded that leaving would be the same as dying and that they should not fear death if they are free men. When one of the monks first finds about the death of an imam there is a very powerful scene in which they use low key lighting to illustrate the mood. The monks are all praying in their monastery and there is no music or dialog between the characters. It was just silence in this scene and it fit the movie very well to display what they are going through and the effect it is having on them. I found that low key lighting was often used to create an chiaroscuro effect. They tend to use this effect to illustrate that the monks are the light in the darkness and how they are a symbol of hope for the village. I felt Xavier did a great job at showing the daily life of these monks. There was not really any music in this movie. There were only the chants of these monks and I believe that is very difficult to do well. However, it was done extremely well and the movie did not need any music to set the mood of a scene as it was displayed excellently. The only scene that contained music was the "last supper" scene and it was the most compelling scene in the movie for me. They all sat down for their last meal and knowing what would happen to them they enjoyed their last day. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in seeing it.
March 21, 2015
"Of Gods and Men" is a serious movie that requires focused attention, like reading a Geek tragedy. To try to watch it in haste will be trashing it. Unlike many movies made for mass consumption, it tells of dilemmas of people who are devoted to their work because they need fulfillment beyond being alive day to day. The Trappist monks summoned unusual courage to stay in harm's way. They were on their way to martyrdom out of devotion to God, conscience and the community they had come to serve. I couldn't resist asking myself if I would flee in face of near-certain annihilation. My mundane self says "flee" loudly. But I really can't tell what I would do if I had placed my soul and life to be such a man of cloth. People who devote themselves to idealism can surprise themselves. Thank God they make movies that make us think. By the way, Christophe's praying scene is beautiful beyond words.
March 1, 2015
Although sparse in places this complimented the message of peace from the monks. I enjoyed the chanting and it's relevance to the storyline, but ultimately I thought the screenplay was just too thin to sustain 2 hours. 1001
February 13, 2015
LOVED it. Asks the hard questions and illustrates what people in these oppressed countries live with daily.
January 6, 2015
The deliberate pacing may turn some people away from this serious look at religious duty and conscience.
August 9, 2014
Tough, and with a pro-colonial heart beating at its centre, it gives us a strong intimation of what it means to be an enemy alien caught in the middle of a civil war.
½ August 2, 2014
slow..... and really i was hoping something more
hunterjt13
Super Reviewer
July 22, 2014
A group of Trappist monks must decide to flee or remain when a nearby village is threatened by Muslim extremists.
As slow burns go, Of Gods and Men is one of the most compelling. Tightly scripted and slowly but tensely paced, as this story unfolds, the film's themes emerge subtly: the film portrays the austerity of faith and how faith leads to a sense of security and conviction. While I'm not personally committed to these theses, the film's portrayal is richly textured and compelling. By the end of the film, we get to know these monks about as well as we get to know anyone in an understated French film, and it's hard not to admire them.
Overall, this is profound and compelling story well-told.
July 21, 2014
Le rythme ne me convient pas.
½ July 2, 2014
Magnifique film d'une rare humanitÚ et finalement plein d'espoir.
½ June 7, 2014
Its a slow brew, but well worth a watch. Monks in Algeria faced with the decisions of leaving their Islamic flock & people desperately needing help, or risk their lives by staying for fear of being killed by the Islamic terrorists. Superb acting from Michael Longsdale, who has never seem so aged and yet wise for the role he plays. Based on a true story.
½ May 5, 2014
A quite extraordinary film about sever Trappist monks based in a poor Algerian village where they have had a presence for many years. As violence in the country erupts into civil war they must decide whether to stay or leave. Remarkably shot, acted & directed this is a powerful, tense film where a look can often say a thousand words. It is exceptional & almost perfect.
½ May 1, 2014
Hauntingly Powerful. This movie will make you think and stays with you long after it ends.
March 8, 2014
Absolutely one of the best movies ever made.
February 27, 2014
A film that truly illustrates the lives of good men, truly lived by example of Christ, whose life story theirs follows--temptation to let "this cup pass," finding the courage of their convictions, enjoying the beauty of simple, happy living in a last supper, and their final end. Of Gods and Men is a beautiful film that shows the true quality of leading the kind of life that Christ set as an example, the highest form of Christianity. When I contrast this film with The Apostle, which I just saw several days ago, the difference is so glaring--in The Apostle, Sonny is just the opposite of these men. He is a womanizer and does not apologize for it or try to stop it, he thinks only of himself and what he selfishly wants, he beats his wife, he violently murders his wife's lover with a baseball bat in from of his horrified children, scarring them for life, and he does not even face his responsibility for this action. Instead, he cowardly runs away, and makes a show of forgiving himself by declaring that God has made him His apostle. The brothers in Of Gods and Men are a stark contrast to Sonny's selfish, proud, hypocritical, ranting religiosity. Here in this brotherhood are men who really serve others, by their actions and their example, and who show us the height to which the human spirit can truly aspire.
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